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毕竟, 究竟, 到底, 终究, and 总归 - these words mean "after all" in Chinese. For example,

毕竟我每次去巴黎,从来没有感到任何不适,有的只是满满的幸福感。

However, I wonder whether there is any difference between these words. According to the question and answers here, you can get to know the difference between 究竟 and 到底, but how about the other words?

For example, can I just replace the 毕竟 with one of the other words it the example sentence?

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Interesting, all of them can be translated as "After all". That shows how general the term "After all" can be.

毕 = finish; end

竟 = state; situation

毕竟 = situation in the end = After all; In the end

e.g. "毕竟你是我的朋友, 我不会要你支付租金的" (In the end/ After all, you are my friend, I will not ask you to pay rent)

~

究 = trace back ; exam the reason

竟 = state; situation

究竟 = exam the reason for a state to exist = Exactly / After all

e.g. "你要我付租金, 究竟我们是不是朋友? "(You want me to pay rent, are we friends or not exactly/ after all?)

~

到 = to

底 = bottom ; end

到底 = In the end; after all

"你要我付租金, 到底我们是不是我朋友? "(You want me to pay rent, are we friends or not in the end/ after all?)

~

终= end

究 = trace back ; exam the reason

终究 = exam the reason for thing end up at this state = Eventually/ After all

e.g. "你终究是我的朋友, 我不会要你支付租金的" (You, in the end/ after all, are my friend, I will not ask you to pay rent)

e.g. "不管我们是不是朋友,租金终究是要付的" (No matter we are friends or not, rent needed to be paid eventually / after all)

~

终 = sum up/ end

归 = end up

终归= in the end; eventually = After all

e.g. "你终归是我的朋友, 我不会要你支付租金的" (You, in the end/ after all, are my friend, I will not ask you to pay rent)

e.g. "不管我们是不是朋友,租金终归是要付的" (No matter we are friends or not, rent needed to be paid eventually / after all)

总归(sum up in the end)= 终归

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  • "in the end" instead of "at the end"? – user6065 Jan 14 '18 at 6:06
  • oh, yes, "in the end" – Tang Ho Jan 14 '18 at 6:08
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The only real answer to this is reading a stack of Chinese texts and picking it up by osmosis. It's a gut-feel thing. But there are at least two cheats you can use to build intuition fast. Check out the raw frequency on google ngram viewer (to look at all your terms at once, make sure you're typing English commas as separators not Chinese ones). Two interesting things there: 终究 and 终归 are dramatically rarer than the other three, so they're probably formal or jargon-y. Worth avoiding unless you have extra special motivation. Also 到底 spikes massively from the 60's to the 80's. Sometimes google ngrams spike for no reason at all, or butterflies-flapping-their-wings-in-brazil reasons, but also, things that spike like that over that time period are often anti-pretentious earthy language of the 老百姓. (See also 革命,前进, and the spectacular crash in the frequency of 之... these can't all be brazil butterflies, right?) A better way is to check out usage-in-context, ichacha.net has a good collection of these, there are plenty of other good sources. From their example lists you can see things like the way 究竟 appears very often in rhetorical questions, where 毕竟 is much more associated with statements. "You're my mistress, not my wife" feels very different from "However did you get here without a car?", although they're both sort of in the "after all" zone, the first is much more typical of 毕竟 and the second is much more typical of 究竟. Check out the full lists on ichacha and see for yourself!

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No, they are different type of words, can not be replaced by each other.

毕竟 after all

究竟 indeed,

到底 finally

终究 at the end

总归 above all

Example:

所以, 这些词究竟有什么区别呢? 我解释不清楚, 毕竟我英文不咋地, 不过, 随着你阅读量的增加, 你终究还是会明白的, 总归就是熟能生巧而已, 我这样的答案到底行不行呢?

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Some of them are synonyms. Refer to below:

毕竟: after all;

究竟, 到底: on earth

终究, 总归: eventually

In this case, if you replace with other words, the meaning would change or it doesn't make sense.

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